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NatWest cuts more than 500 jobs, closes north London…

By Iain Withers

LONDON, Aug 12 – Britain’s NatWest is cutting at least 500 jobs across its retail business and closing one of its remaining offices in London, as lenders press on with cost-cutting in the face of a wave of expected loan losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The British state-backed bank is finalising a voluntary redundancy round targeting cutting 550 full-time equivalent roles across its branches and ‘premier banking’ premium service, union Unite told Reuters. A NatWest spokesman confirmed the redundancy process.

“We have taken the decision to invite applications for voluntary redundancy and will support those colleagues who apply with a comprehensive support package. There will be no compulsory redundancy as a result of this announcement,” the spokesman said.

Around 800 staff are expected to leave once part-time workers are included, Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said, adding he understood the round was oversubscribed.

NatWest is also separately closing its Regents House office in the Angel area of north London, which was home to one of the bank’s biggest tech hubs and had space for 2,500 workers.

“We have been reviewing our London property strategy to better reflect how we will work in the future,” a NatWest spokeswoman said. “As a result, we will exit Regents House, and will reconfigure our London remaining properties at 250 Bishopsgate and 440 Strand.”

Banks across the industry are looking to cut costs as their finances are dented by the pandemic, with official data on Wednesday showing the UK economy entered a deep recession in the first half of the year.

(Reporting by Iain Withers, Editing by Lawrence White)

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